Mini has officially revealed the Roadster Concept alongside it’s new Coupe Concept (read news item) at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Like its hardtop stablemate the Roadster is strictly a two-seater with a chopped roofline and tilted back windscreen. This is almost certainly set to be the second new model that will be produced at MINI’s Oxford UK assembly plant alongside the Coupe.
Also like the Coupe, the Roadster makes extensive use of Mini family design cues and appears pretty much unchanged from the belt-line down compared to existing Minis. For the Roadster, the roll-bar structure has been moved forward so it sits directly behind the seats. This should improve the coupe’s structural rigidity, helping make the Roadster a more competent handler.
The front air dam of the Mini Roadster Concept looks seriously performance ready. And it should be, considering that Mini’s 175 horsepower turbocharged 1.6-litre engine will be even more willing to please in the smaller Roadster. Weight distribution has been improved, shuffling a bit more weight over the rear axle for more neutral behaviour. The slightly shorter layout and lower weight also helps handling, while power-to-weight ratio is improved, too.
Another functional advantage of the Roadster is increased boot space thanks to the missing back seat. The volume increases and the opening is now usably large, extending over the rear deck and down to the bumper. A lockable pass-through gap also allows a passenger to reach items banging round in the boot.
Aesthetically, the concept’s houndstooth-and-leather seating and gold striping show the concept won’t be all about performance.
A new multi-function screen display offers five new gimmicky indicators: the Nature Guard (how eco friendly you’re driving), Highspeed Shifter (when to shift for maximum power), Gravity Indicator (lateral and g-forces), Heart Beat (engine speed visualized by beating heart) and Buddy Radar (shows where other Mini drivers are).
It’s cute, it will go reasonably hard and there is no reason why the new Roadster won’t be a sales success when it reaches production.